LinkedIn can be a useful source for social media marketing. It is easy to use, free, and boasts more than 60 million members. This is a market where people expect to network, get to know different companies, and expand their own business circles.
Here are the top five ways PR pros, communicators, and marketers can grab audiences' attention on the professional social network.
1. Ask for recommendations
Don't be shy. Ask satisfied customers or responsible employees to write a few kind words about your company and/or products. People often read reviews before buying products or learning about a prospective employer, so be willing to ask for feedback.
2. Reciprocate with recommendations
Equally important is giving out reviews and recommendations to colleagues and clients. Be generous and genuine. If a recommendation is sincere, it will show. Demonstrate how appreciated employees are, and recommend them in a relevant way. Doing so builds trust and rapport with your connections.
3. Create a brand group
There are many LinkedIn users who are interested in joining groups on a number of topics; everything from SEO marketing to creative writing.
Create a group that includes appealing keywords in the title, or a good description to let people know what kind of group it is. Rather than send requests randomly to join your group—doing so is highly ineffective—keep the option checked to "display this group in the Groups Directory" in order to reach a wide network.
Once the group is up and running, keep it updated with relevant topics and allow for open discussion. Interaction is the key to effective social media marketing.
4. Use regular profile updates
Regular and consistent updates to your profile will keep it in the news feed. Of course, one doesn't want to make profile updates that are meaningless. That will only irritate connections if they have to constantly see it in their news feeds. Make sure they are proper updates, and maintain professionalism.
5. Use an image to create an image
It's a good idea to have as many personal touches as possible on a LinkedIn profile page, as well as a brand's group page. Remember the five P's—upload a pleasant, professional and personal profile picture. Doing so adds a human touch and encourages connections to interact and be attracted to one's profile. The other place an image is important is on the brand's group page. Use the company's logo and put the business's best foot forward.
Pam Velazquez is a link-building specialist at Inflection and a writer at Dreamgrow.com, where a version of this article originally ran.